Lankan forces enter no-fire zone

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 11, 2009 16:50 hrs

Colombo: Sri Lankan troops nearing the end of their campaign against Tamil Tigers have entered the no-fire zone in the north, state radio reported on Saturday.

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in its main English news bulletin said the army's 58 division led by Brigadier Shavendra Silva had entered Puttumatalan no-fire zone on Friday evening.

However, the military is yet to officially confirm the troops' entry to the government declared no-fire zone for the safety of over 100,000 civilians from the minority Tamil community.

The army's 58, 53, 59 and task force eight divisions have been surrounding the area since Wednesday when the government announced its final notice to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels to surrender and allow civilians to escape for safety.

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According to Sri Lankan military, the rebel communications monitored have indicated serious difference of opinion among the LTTE members after the announcement.

The rebels have fired at civilians who wanted to leave for the safety under government control.

The government claims that some 66,000 civilians have already arrived in government welfare centres and more are expected.

The military said once the civilians exit the area, they would free the entire area of Puttumatalan free of rebels ending their over three decade old separatist campaign.

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